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photo by Jeremy SykesMake the Perfect Martini
Get shaking—and stirring—during the “Cocktails 101” seminar taught by Chris Tucker, beverage director at the midtown hot spot Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. During the class—the first in a new series of cocktail courses held at the restaurant on the second Saturdays of select months—would-be mixologists will taste base spirits vodka, gin, rum, tequila and whiskey to discern the differences between them, and study when to use liqueurs like triple sec and orange liqueur as well as mixers like Amari and bitters in drinks. Tucker will also delve into garnishes, essential bar tools like mixing tins and Hawthorne strainers, and muddling techniques, before helping students build 10 classic cocktails, including a Manhattan, martini, gimlet and mojito. $45. 1630 S St. 442-4885. hookandladder916.com

Sail Away
Do you dream of retiring to a sailboat but don’t know your port from your starboard? (Which is to say, your left from your right, when you’re facing forward on the deck of a boat?) The Sacramento State Aquatic Center can swiftly get you in ship shape with its beginning sailing classes, which run through October on the tranquil waters of Lake Natoma. The instruction is aimed at the complete novice, with sessions over 14 hours that combine such essentials as sail positioning and control (aka “trim”), knot tying and docking, and basic safety—up to and including how to recover your boat from capsizing. (Needless to say, participants will get wet—you’ll want to bring a towel.) Graduates receive a pass for a two-hour boat rental and a fun new way to splash around in Sacramento’s replenished lakes all summer long. $180. 1901 Hazel Ave. Gold River. 278-2842. sacstateaquaticcenter.com

Take a Pilgrimage to the Pope of Foamphoto by Karen Higgins/UC Davis
Does your brew fall flat? A week of picking the brain of prominent brewing science professor Charlie Bamforth, aka the Pope of Foam, will transform that swill into successful suds. Serious home brewers, aspiring brewery founders and staff from beer brands small to big, such as Bike Dog, Sierra Nevada and MillerCoors, flock to his UC Davis Extension “Introduction to Practical Brewing” course that stretches over 31 hours every few months at the cost of $1,400 (the next tutorial starts on Dec. 12). It includes two opportunities to brew beer (the first at a state-of-the-art 1.5-barrel pilot brewery), a trip to Sudwerk Brewery to catch brewing in action, a sensory session in which students share their batches, lectures exploring everything from raw materials to finished products, and plenty of time to lob questions at Bamforth. Don’t expect him to go easy on you. “If you haven’t got a reasonably thick skin, it’s probably not the class for you,” says Bamforth. The result, though, is worth any bruised egos. As the Pope of Foam asserts, “It should make you a much better brewer.” $1,400. 392 Old Davis Rd. Davis. 800-752-0881. extension.ucdavis.edu

Shoot like Katniss Everdeen
Bring The Hunger Games to life at Rocklin’s Wilderness Archery. Technician Matt Letunic hosts adult archery lessons on Monday nights at the 58-year-old pro shop. Archers learn about commands (“clear,” for example, means everyone is done shooting, and archers can collect their arrows), body positioning (hint: feet should be shoulder-width apart with one shoulder angled toward the target), holding bows and shooting. Lessons are taught with a recurve bow, a traditional wood and string instrument with no mechanical additions. By the end of the hour, you’ll be primed to hit a target 10 yards away. As proof of your Katniss prowess, Wilderness Archery lets you take your arrow hole-riddled target home with you. $35 ($25 without rentals). 4870 Pacific St. Rocklin. 630-8700. wildernessarchery.com

Host a Trunk Show in Your Backyard
With towering elms, budding maples and brightly dotted fruit bearers surrounding us at almost every turn, it’s hard to forget that Sacramento is the City of Trees. But it is easy to neglect our resident leafy giants, especially during drought years. At Green Acres’ “Tremendous Trees” workshop, horticulturalists will provide tips on irrigating your trees without wasting water and picking the best saplings for your yard, like an Autumn Blaze maple that can grow up to 50 feet tall or a shady Chinese hackberry that produces a sweet orange fruit, which is a good food source for birds. And your vegetation education doesn’t have to stop there. Drop by the nursery for additional February workshops, including “Starting from Seed” to select your spring veggie lineup and “Roses De-Mystified” to properly cultivate the aromatic flowers. Free. Various locations. idiggreenacres.com

Climb the Walls
Reach the summit at Peak Adventures’ introduction to outdoor rock climbing. During a daylong expedition on Oct. 15, set out with your fellow Spidey wannabes to Placerville’s Cosumnes River Gorge, a destination nestled in western Sierra known for several hundred smooth granite climbing routes. Before making any upward motions, you’ll get schooled on the basics of knot-tying, equipment (FYI, it’s all supplied) and belaying, a technique that uses friction to avoid long falls. The first order of business is hiking a 50-foot cliff to anchor 200-foot-long nylon ropes at the top. Once back at the base of the rock, everyone pairs up, and takes turns belaying and climbing (and then coming back down). If you can’t make it to the intro class, custom trips for groups of six or more are available. $68. 278-6321. peakadventures.org

photo courtesy of Peak Adventures

Go Fish
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at fly fishing (who didn’t after watching Brad Pitt cast for trout in the gorgeously filmed A River Runs Through It?), it’s time to get your feet wet at American Fly Fishing’s introduction to the sport. The classes begin every Saturday morning at the shop’s Arden-Arcade facility, where students get acquainted with different fly fishing rods (they work either in whippy “soft action” or stiffer “fast action” fashions), various knots to attach a “fly” (lure) to the line, important accessories for vests and hats, including nippers to cut a fly off a line, and insects attractive to fish. Then on Sunday, students are fitted in waders and boots, and head to the rolling American River to put their newfound knowledge to practice, using forward strokes and back casts. $50 per class. 2752 Marconi Ave. 483-1222. americanflyfishing.com

Play for Laughs
There are few more humbling experiences than telling a joke that nobody laughs at. On the other hand, few experiences rival the thrill of cracking up a room full of people. Sacramento Comedy Spot’s “Stand-Up 101” class doesn’t guarantee a long, happy life of the latter, but it does explore the range between those extremes and deconstructs the elements of a good stand-up set. Over the four-week Monday night course, pro comic and instructor John Ross helps students develop five-minute routines of their own; the process is as much about adjusting to an audience’s perception of you as it is about the jokes in the routine itself. (For example, whenever you’re bombing—and you will bomb—acknowledge as much to coax the audience over to your side.) The sessions, which draw enrollees from casual stand-up fans to aspiring comics to seasoned public speakers looking to refine their technique, culminate in a performance of your material at Comedy Spot’s popular Sunday night open mic. $150. 1050 20th St. 444-3137. saccomedyspot.com

photo by Jeremy SykesMake Killer Coffee
For the cost of a large coffee drink, you can learn the traits and techniques that go into making a fresh, delicious cup at home. At its East Sacramento roastery, Chocolate Fish combines tasting and brewing classes on the third Saturday of each month, a two-and-a-half-hour session in which rookies and geeks alike learn about the flavor variations inherent in different coffee-growing climates and elevations, or in the nuances of bean processing and roasting. (The first lesson, according to Chocolate Fish co-owner Edie Baker: “Get your palate good.”) The brewing course helps visitors learn how a French press, Aeropress and other brew methods enhance everything from the fruit acidity of a Central American coffee to the berry-like sweetness of African beans. And you can’t beat the price: Chocolate Fish applies the $5 registration deposit to your purchase of beans after the lessons, making this top-flight coffee class practically free. $5. 4749 Folsom Blvd. 451-5181. chocolatefishcoffee.com

Bake and Break Bread
Rise to the challenge at Tess’ Kitchen Store’s “Advanced Bread Series” in Grass Valley. Your teacher will be Alan Tangren, a Chicago Park native and veteran of Alice Water’s Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where he worked as a pastry chef and forager for 22 years. Shape free-form loaves into grape clusters and bake pain de campagne (country bread), or, using a mill, grind local grains to produce pumpernickel and Eastern European rye loaves dusted with caraway seeds. Each stage of making bread is explored, from preparing a sourdough starter to kneading, proofing and scoring dough. After the class, nosh on your fresh-out-of-the-oven bread with cheese and salad. $100. 115 Mill St. Grass Valley. 530-273-6997. tesskitchenstore.com
Editors' Note: This lesson is no longer being offered. Please check the class website for updated information.

Act Your Way Through Anything
Just because you haven’t acted since you killed it in your high school’s production of Our Town doesn’t mean your dream of becoming Daniel Day-Lewis or Julia Louis-Dreyfus is dead. B Street Theatre’s “Integrated Acting, Tier 1” class, which meets for eight consecutive Monday evenings, whips you into performance shape. Greg Alexander, a B Street actor who most recently played Ebenezer Scrooge in the company’s original production of A Christmas Carol, guides you through various acting exercises that make you comfortable in front of an audience, and expand your awareness of your body and voice in a stage environment. You’ll also practice partnered scenes and monologues before the class culminates in a final presentation. Start rehearsing your acceptance speech now. $260. 2711 B St. 443-5300. bstreettheatre.org

Give Hallmark the Heave-Ho
When you care enough to send the very best, send a handmade card that you crafted yourself. Paper Garden in the Pavilions Shopping Center—a stationery destination founded by former KOVR reporter Stephanie Nishikawa-Yee in 2006—holds weekly classes (in October and November, themes include “Handmade Holiday” and “Happy Fall”) where students build up to six cards and receive pointers on turning embossing powder into shimmery stamp patterns, affixing die-cut flowers to cardstock and transforming fresh ink into floral designs. So channel your inner Martha Stewart, and make your next card a keeper. $35-$40. 565 Pavilions Lane. 487-2737. papergardenboutique.com

Throw Punches like Muhammad (or Laila) Aliphoto by Max Whittaker
Get ready to rumble at Flawless Boxing & Fitness on Broadway. The gym, which was founded by professional boxer Brandon Gonzales in 2013, requires you to start with a 30-minute intro class offered Monday and Thursday evenings prior to entering the ring. Warning to the fledgling fighter: the orientation isn’t a breeze. The trainer first gets your blood pumping with jump roping, then situates you in the correct boxing stance. Footwork and jab drills are up next before you learn how to expertly wrap your hands. The gloves come on if you stick around for the subsequent class, during which boxing beginners test their new techniques on 100-pound banana bags. $107 for monthly membership. 600 Broadway. 640-6321. flawlessboxingfit.com

Create a Chicken and Egg Situation
Find out how to rule your roost—and reap the benefits of fresh, delicious eggs—in the “Raising Backyard Chickens” class taught by Brian Fikes and Greg Howes, who have been parenting poultry for more than two decades and run the artisan chicken enclosure company Two Flew the Coop. A collaboration between Soil Born Farms (whose American River Ranch hosts the class) and the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, the yearly lesson gives you the rundown on raising birds from chicks to egg-laying maturity, including how to select the right breed and predator-proof a coop. If a flock sounds daunting, don’t chicken out: Fikes and Howes will explain how to create a maintenance plan so you’ll only need to spend a few minutes each day on your fine feathered friends. $30-$35. 2140 Chase Dr. Rancho Cordova. 455-2667. sacfoodcoop.com

Set Free Your Inner Birder
If you don’t know a raptor from a rail, Roger Adamson will get you up to flight speed. In his two-hour UC Davis Extension class entitled “Birding the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area,” the former president of the Yolo Audubon Society will help you spot many of the nearly 250 bird species that populate the migratory region—including waterfowl that gather in the thousands in the winter, powerful Peregrine falcons, and petite meadowlarks—as well as semiaquatic animals like river otters and beavers. You will also get tips on the best binoculars, scopes and field guides to try. And don’t worry if you’re a newbie birder. “The classes aren’t directed toward experts,” Adamson says. “They’re meant for people who are interested in getting out or learning something new about our area.” $45 (including required membership to UC Davis Extension’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). 1515 Shasta Dr. Davis. 800-752-0881. extension.ucdavis.edu

Heed the Sirens’ Call
If you prefer your exercise not just hot, but hubba hubba hot, you should matriculate at Siren Burlesque Academy, where the Sacramento-based troupe Sizzling Sirens holds workshops that school you in sultry moves. Included in the lesson plans are “How to Dance in Heels,” the “Chair Dance” and “Burlesque for Your Lover.” Held the first Sunday of every other month at the Firehouse 5 dance studio in Southside Park, the classes don’t require Dita Von Teese-level skills, just an open mind, willingness to let loose, comfy clothes—and a pair of 3-inch heels. Students leave each two-hour tutorial with choreographed mini-routines, a better sense of balance and a serious workout. Here, the only prohibition is inhibition. $20 in advance; $25 drop-in. 2014 9th St. houseofsizzle.com

Pass the Puck
Let’s say you’ve played sports recreationally for years, and you’re up for a new challenge. Or maybe you’re newly interested in organized sports, but don’t want to jump headlong into a league full of more seasoned players. Either way, lace up and take Roseville ice rink Skatetown’s exhilarating “Learn to Play Hockey” course, which instructs dozens of men and women—mostly novices to a game associated with northern winters and frozen ponds—in hockey fundamentals. Coaches Jeff Eastburn and Brian Hayes guide their classes from proper skating technique and stick handling to hockey rules and strategies, eventually graduating to scrimmages that prepare students for Skatetown’s league play. The setting is fun, casual and low contact, and even though full hockey gear is required (Skatetown’s equipment bundles start at $200)—think of the whole exciting package as a $30-per-week investment that skates circles around any personal trainer at the gym. $460. 1009 Orlando Ave. Roseville. 783-8550. skatetown.biz

photo by Jeremy Sykes